A warm bath for better sleep
Having a warm bath before bed could improve your night’s rest, a new study suggests. Human body temperatures vary throughout the day in line with our internal body clocks. About an hour and a half before we usually nod off, our bodies cool down by around 0.5 to 1 degree Fahrenheit. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin suspected that exposure to warm water could stimulate the body’s natural thermoregulatory system—enhancing that crucial cooling process. To explore this idea, they examined 17 previous studies that looked at the effects of water-based passive heating—baths, foot baths, and showers—on sleep. That meta-analysis showed that having a bath or shower of between 104 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit one to two hours before bedtime was linked with noticeable improvements in sleep quality and overall sleep time. Those bathers also took an average of 10 minutes less to drop off. Study author Shahab Haghayegh emphasized that there is a Goldilocks-style sweet spot, reports CNN.com. A cold bath or shower encourages the body to warm up, making it harder to sleep; having a warm bath too close to bedtime, meanwhile, has no soporific effect.